ATLANTA — Former President Donald Trump turned himself in Thursday night at the Fulton County Jail to be booked on felony charges in connection with efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.
Trump arrived at the jail shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET in a presidential-style motorcade and was booked, fingerprinted and photographed for a mug shot within minutes, according to jail records. Trump was quickly released, according to the records. He was in and out of the jail in about 20 minutes.
"What has taken place here is a travesty of justice," Trump told reporters on the tarmac moments before he boarded his plane to leave Atlanta. "We did nothing wrong at all, and we have every single right to challenge an election we think is dishonest."
The arrest was Trump’s fourth since April, and it was the first time he — or any former U.S. president — had his mug shot taken. The booking took place in a state that was largely ground zero for his bogus stolen election claims, despite enormous pushback against him from the Republican governor and top election officials in a state he had won in 2016. Trump’s continued insistence that the election results could not be trusted helped cost Republicans control of the U.S. Senate in a runoff election on Jan. 5, 2021.
Trump, 77, had left his summer home in Bedminster, New Jersey, shortly before 4 p.m. ET and took his private plane to Atlanta, where he was indicted last week on state racketeering and conspiracy charges.
“I have to start getting ready to head down to Atlanta, Georgia,” to “get ARRESTED by a Radical Left, Lowlife District Attorney, Fani Willis,” Trump, 77, said Thursday afternoon in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, where he also exaggerated the crime rate in Atlanta.
He gave a thumbs-up to the cameras as he walked off the plane at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
After he arrived at the jail, Trump was processed and released under the terms of a $200,000 bond agreement his attorneys struck with Willis' office this week. Booking records listed his height as 6-foot-3 and his weight as 215 pounds, which would be 29 pounds lighter than he was at the time of his last White House physical in 2020. The source of the jail's information is unclear, and it appeared online before he arrived at the jailhouse.
A date for his arraignment hasn't been announced.
Trump has maintained he's not guilty of any wrongdoing and has accused Willis, a Democrat, of "election interference" for charging him because he's again running for president.
The majority of Trump's 18 co-defendants in the sprawling case have already surrendered, including his former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was booked Thursday afternoon before he was released under the terms of his $100,000 bond agreement.
Willis set a deadline of noon Friday for the defendants to turn themselves in before arrest warrants would be issued. The Fulton County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Thursday night that it's "expected that the remaining 7 defendants, named in the Georgia election interference indictment, will surrender by Friday."
Earlier Thursday, Trump shook up his legal team in the case, replacing lawyer Drew Findling with attorney Steven Sadow.
Sadow said in a statement ahead of Trump's appearance that he "should never have been indicted. He is innocent of all the charges brought against him. We look forward to the case being dismissed or, if necessary, an unbiased, open-minded jury finding the president not guilty."
No trial date has been set. Willis initially proposed a trial date in March, but on Thursday she recommended the trial start Oct. 23 after one of the defendants, Kenneth Chesebro, filed a motion for a speedy trial date.
Trump, who has said this and the three other criminal trials he faces should be delayed until after the 2024 presidential election, then filed a motion saying that he opposes the request and that he'll file be filing another motion to sever his case from Chesebro's and the cases of "any other co-defendant who files such a demand."
In a ruling late Thursday, Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee signed on to Chesebro's request and the DA's proposed trial date but added, "At this time, these deadlines do not apply to any co-defendant."
Charlie Gile reported from Atlanta and Dareh Gregorian from New York.
CORRECTION (Aug. 24, 2023, 11:15 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the date of the special election runoff that cost Republicans control of the Senate. It was Jan. 5, 2021, not 2020.